Life Safety Issues
Some of our insured facilities have been observed to be less-than-diligent about life safety equipment, procedures, and precautions in their facilities. As the term indicates, life safety is concerned with protecting the very lives of the members, visitors, and employees, and should be afforded significant attention, even though emergencies are fortunately infrequent. Safe means of exiting the premises in case of an emergency are vital to the well-being of all persons involved. The following tips can increase the ease with which emergency situations are handled.
A means of egress should be provided from each point in the facility to a public way. Each of the separate and distinct parts (the exit access, the exit, and the exit discharge) should be maintained completely clear of obstacles.
- Exit doors should be unlocked and able to be opened from indoors
- Exits should lead through safe and controlled areas (i.e. not exiting through a utility room)
- No equipment or miscellaneous objects should block exit doors or hallways
Emergency lighting equipment should receive documented periodic testing.
- Each device should be operated at least once every 30 days for a minimum duration of 30 seconds, normally by depressing the test button, and at least once every 365 days for a minimum duration of 90 minutes, normally by de-energizing the appropriate electrical circuits . The documentation of these occurrences should be kept for 3 years.
- If an emergency power supply system (EPSS) is used instead of emergency lighting equipment, the EPSS should be inspected weekly and should be exercised under load every 30 days at a capacity not less than 50% of the total connected EPSS load (and not less that 30% and preferably 50% of EPS nameplate rating) for a minimum of 30 minutes, with proper documentation being maintained1.
Exit lighting should be illuminated at all times.
- Documented checks of all exit light locations should be made weekly to verify that all bulbs in the devices are functional.
- If the devices have test buttons, these should be pushed to verify operation under back-up power.
Any door in a means of egress designed to normally be closed, such as a door to a stair enclosure or horizontal exit, should be self-closing, and should never be secured open except by UL approved devices.
- Do not wedge, block, or chain fire doors to prevent them from closing
- Fire doors are vital to your safety because they automatically close to decelerate the spread of smoke and protect against injury, death, and damage.
Following these protocols can increase the ease with which your organization handles emergency situations if they arise. If in doubt, check with your local authorities.